What To Look For When Buying A Food Processor As A Gift

The holiday season is here and as in years before, I am sure many of you shopping for a food processor intend to give it as a gift. Here are a few tips to make sure the model you choose is well-received by the recipient.

1- Be sure to choose an appropriately sized machine. Generally speaking, most home cooks will need a full-sized (9 cups or larger) AND a mini food processor (4 cups or smaller) if they want to use a food processor for all their processing needs. Some cooks, specifically those who never prepare food for more than two people, can benefit from a compact model (5 to 8 cups) instead. The best option for most home cooks would be a full-sized food processor with a compatible mini bowl. This makes one machine able to do the job of both, giving you the most versatility possible in a single model.

2- Choose a finish or color that will go with the recipients kitchen. Food processors are large and can be used for preparing almost every meal you can imagine. They tend to be left on the countertop most of the time for these two reasons. Look around the kitchen where your gift will be going. Are all the appliances stainless steel? Does the recipient have a few brightly colored appliances? Is everything white?

3- Get a well-powered food processor. No one wants a weak machine. Look for a model that has the bowl situated directly above the motor (and not beside it.) These models are referred to as direct-driven and the power transfer in them is far superior to that offered by a belt-driven model. Direct-driven models may cost a bit more, but it is certainly worth it. A poorly powered food processor will cause headaches in the kitchen rather than helping.

4- Read reviews to find a reliable food processor. Don’t give a gift that is sure to break after a short period of time. Read consumer reviews to find a machine that has proven to be reliable time after time.

5- Check out the available accessories. Some food processors (especially the smaller models) come with little or no accessory options. Think about what the gift recipient likes to make and choose a model accordingly. The most popular accessory is a dough blade, which lets you make delicious, homemade bread easily.

There are also a few things you don’t need to look for when shopping for your gift. Don’t worry about safety features when choosing your gift. All modern models follow strict safety regulations, such as ensuring the blade stops moving when the lid is removed. Many manufacturers try to highlight these safety features to entice you to buy, when really they are standard on any machine you will find. Multiple speed settings are unnecessary; don’t look for them. Don’t worry about whether or not the machine you choose comes with a companion guide and cookbook. Many fine books are available for separate purchase, and they are better than any included book out there.

How to Boost Your Immune System Through the Foods You Eat

The food you eat helps to protect your body inside and out, therefore its best to fill your diet with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from fresh grown and raised foods. Unfortunately, fast food, high fat, and high sugar foods have taken over the American diet. These foods wreak havoc on the body and lower the immune system. When the immune system is weak its easier for disease, bacteria and viruses to penetrate the bodies defenses, making it more likely that you will get sick. However if you eat the proper combinations of immune boosting foods you can avoid the yearly flu, or the common cold that goes around.

The immune system is the body’s defense system to keep foreign pathogens from causing disease and infection. The immune system functions by distinguishing foreign agents, viruses and bacteria, that are harmful to the body and destroys them. A weakened immune system can allow pollutants, toxins and germs through the body’s defenses. These pathogens attach to receptor sites on cell membranes and eat their way through. Once a pathogen enters the cell it can replicate by changing the cellular DNA. This is how infections, tumors, and disease spread throughout the body. Even a small breakdown in the immune system leaves the body susceptible to illness.

A breakdown in the immune system can be caused by lifestyle and environment. Smoke, air quality, sunlight and extreme temperatures can weaken the immune system. Add to that a poor diet, excessive alcohol intake, drug use or smoking cigarettes can all contribute to a weakened immune system. These bad habits can create free radicals within the body, which breakdown cells leaving them vulnerable to attacking viruses and bacteria. Damage to cells leads to chronic disease such as atherosclerosis, cancer and arthritis. To protect and repair cell damage the body needs antioxidants to neutralize free radicals.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides the body with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to boost the immune system and fight off invasion from disease. Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and nutrients found in plants that bolster the immune system. How the body receives these nutrients is just as important as the nutrients themselves. The best way to consume these valuable nutrients is through ones diet. Although in some cases supplementation is necessary to attain the recommended daily allowance, studies show that the body’s benefit is greater when nutrients are received through food. When you eat antioxidant rich foods together, they have a synergistic effect on the body, allowing for an even greater benefit.

Immune boosting foods don’t just strengthen the immune system, they work to destroy and eliminate foreign pathogens completely from the body. When consumed, they increase the number of white blood cells in the body, the cells that fight off infection and enhance their ability to fight and attack viruses and bacteria, pathogens. Immune boosters also enhance the production of antibodies that destroy bacteria. A strong immune system is able to ward off colds, flu’s and infections.

The three major vitamin antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which in the body is converted to vitamin A. Antioxidant minerals, include zinc and selenium. Another antioxidant group is bioflavonoids, phytochemicals, which include quercetin, luteolin, and catechins. Most antioxidants are found in a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables especially those that are purple, blue, red, orange, yellow and green. Foods high in vitamin C include berries, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, kiwi, nectarines, oranges, peppers, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes. Foods rich in vitamin E include broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard, turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds. Beta-carotene is part of the group of carotenoids, which are found in foods such as apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnip, collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelons. Bioflavonoids are a plant based chemical therefore found in an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Quercetin can be found in apples, onions, tea and red wine. Luteolin is found in celery, and green peppers. Catechins are found in tea especially back, green and oolong tea. Antioxidant minerals can be found in some meats, seafood’s, nuts and whole grains. Foods with zinc include oysters, red meat, poultry beans, nuts, seafood, whole grains, and diary products. Selenium is found in Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, poultry, fortified breads, and grain products.

So stock your fridge and kitchen with immune boosting and fortifying foods. Eat these foods year round to keep your immune system strong and avoid getting those yearly colds and flu.